MPs late last night voted to pass the Repeal Bill at second reading by 326 - 290.
This vote is both a welcome and necessary step to fulfilling the British people’s decision to leave the EU - but it’s just one step of many more to come.
Any future amendments to the Bill must not be used to keep the UK in the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union as this would fail to respect the referendum mandate of taking back control of our laws, borders, money and trade.
The British people want their elected representatives to get on with the job of Brexit, not make it harder for the Government to prepare a smooth, successful departure in March 2019.
Corbyn and Labour must come clean on Single Market position
It is deeply concerning that Jeremy Corbyn yesterday suggested that continued membership of the EU’s single market is ‘open for discussion’ (BBC News, September 2017, link).
Retained Single Market membership would see the UK continue to be under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, keep paying billions of pounds into the EU budget and allow for the free movement of people from the EU. This would go against the referendum mandate of taking back control of our laws, money and borders.
Labour must be honest with the British people about whether they wish to remain a member of the EU’s single market. It is worth remembering that 70% of Labour constituencies voted Leave in the referendum (Chris Hanretty, June 2016, link), and that failing to respect the referendum mandate risks alienating these voters in the party’s heartlands.
Cooperation in defence is in both UK’s and EU’s interests
It is right that the Government is seeking to formalise post-Brexit cooperation with the EU on military and security matters to ensure the safety of both UK and EU citizens (BBC News, September 2017, link).
This is not an unprecedented step - indeed the UK trains and coordinates with EU-member states’ militaries on a regular basis, and this latest move will, in part, ensure that this vital cooperation continues post-2019 (Ministry of Defence, April 2016, link).
The UK has crucial defence relationships with a number of non-EU countries such as the US and Canada. It makes sense that we maintain similar relationships with our close neighbours.
With regard to security, however, it is vital that any future arrangements do not tie the UK to the jurisdiction of the European Courts - any cooperation must be done in coordination with the EU’s legal bodies, not subject to it.
Good economic news
A new survey shows that UK investors are more optimistic about the returns that their investments could achieve over the next year than their European counterparts. 63% of UK investors feel ‘optimistic’, higher than the 56% on the continent (City AM, September 2017, link).
In yet another sign of confidence in the City, the latest Robert Walters City Jobs Index reveals that professional job volumes rose by 31% in August compared to the same period in 2016 (City AM, September 2017, link).
An annual survey by Crowe Clark Whitehill has revealed that 92% of city law firms have experienced growth this year, an increase of 27% compared to last year. The survey also showed that firms reporting a fall in revenue decreased from 23% to 8% (City AM, September 2017, link).